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Why New Orleans Saints fans despise the Atlanta Falcons

If you’re a fan, you don’t need a reminder. However, from the outside looking in, here’s some reasons why the Saints have a special place in their heart for Falcons hatred.

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Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

It’s Atlanta Falcons Hate Week for New Orleans Saints fans, which is almost equal to Christmas for some. This rivalry dates back to 1967, and Thursday’s meeting will mark the 96th time these two square off, which includes one postseason game (1991). Arguably, this is one of the NFL’s most underrated rivalries, as the two teams flat out hate each other. As if you needed reminders why Saints fans feel the way they do, here’s a brief refresher course.

Below the belt. Rubbing Saints fans the wrong way via personal insults is a quick way to face scrutiny. The first incident came in June 2013 when an Atlanta Radio station program, 790 The Zone’s Mayhem, ran a very poor Steve Gleason segment. Hosts Steak Shapiro and Chris Dimino ‘interviewed’ Gleason, who was portrayed by Nick Cellini. It went over the line, as you could imagine. This joke, in particular, was disgusting.

Knock knock.

Who's there?


Smother who?

Smother me. Do me a favor.

All three were fired shortly after.

You can also find tons of social media exchanges in which Falcons fans engage Saints fans via Twitter in an attempt to exchange football wits. Unfortunately, most arguments after a rather predictable 7-9 insult for the Saints escalate into Hurricane Katrina references.

Remember the first Sean Payton-Drew Brees regime game in Atlanta in 2006? This is what happened to Michael Vick. Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Speaking of remembering, how about the bus egging in 2012? Don’t remember the game (just like both in 1978), just the actual events before it. Also, having former players go from the Saints to the Falcons was always a sore spot: Bobby Hebert, Morten Andersen, Joe Horn, to name a few. Thank goodness Lance Moore was smart enough to realize playing for the Falcons was utter nonsense after just being with them for three days.

Roddy White also provided plenty of fun moments in this rivalry, proving that mastering 1st-2nd Grade English isn’t easy.

  • 2010: “The grace of god gave them tht championship so that city wouldn fall apart now and now they they hot shit in my chad voice child please.” Of course, the tweet has since been deleted and an apology was issued.
  • 2012: Leading up to their November meeting, White tells the AJC, “I don’t like nothing about the Saints. The colors. The city. Nothing.” The Falcons would lose, as the Saints spoiled their then undefeated season. White was salty.

Speaking of Roddy White, can you believe a Saints blog suggested that they look at him last year? Grab your barf bag if you dare to click on that nonsense.

Lest we forget the horrid Falcons teams prior to the Super Bowl run last season? There’s an extremely short-term memory when it comes to the 2016 Falcons, who choose to ignore seasons of 8-8 (2015), 6-10 (2014), and 4-12 (2013) while boasting of their glorious year.

Speaking of 2015, start 5-0, end up 8-8. Oh yeah, that fake crowd noise scandal that had a punishment in March 2015 for something that was used between 2013-2014.

Speaking of stadiums, Mercedes-Benz Superdome was here first. The Falcons had to copy and now have Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Of course, having fans show up to games is just a challenge. Talk about embarrassing. If only the Falcons had true fans, like Curtis Lofton said.

The penultimate moment for Saints fans was Super Bowl 51. Yes, countless people are so quick to point out how a fan base celebrates the victory and achievement of another team when you aren’t even in the big show. Perhaps using a dictionary to look up the term rivalry is in order. Go find me a Steelers fan who would cheer for the Ravens in the Super Bowl, a Redskins, Eagles, or Giants fan that would root for the Cowboys, and any Bears or Vikings fan that would pull for the Packers in that setting.

28-3. You had them. You had that first Super Bowl ring on your finger, and lost it down the toilet (or an ocean given how improbable the comeback was). The Falcons have had two chances at a Lombardi Trophy, and have lost both.

Let’s keep talking about blown leads too. Since 2003, the Falcons have five considerable blown leads, one courtesy of the Saints in that same year. But it doesn’t stop there, as the Falcons blew a 21-point lead to the Titans in that same season. In the NFC Championship (2012 season), they were popping the champagne to head to the Super Bowl, but blew a 17-point lead in the 4th Quarter to the 49ers. They also had a 21-point lead over the Lions in 2014, which they ended up losing the game 22-21. Ouch.

Two points. New York Giants. 2011 NFC Wild Card.

This is probably the greatest video (NSFW warning) in existence when it comes to the Falcons, appropriately dubbed A Legacy of Failure, and you should spend 10 minutes to watch it.

You should also watch Bomani Jones sum this up perfectly.

Stay tuned for some of the top Saints moments against the Falcons (or just some of Atlanta’s failures), but feel free to drop your reason(s) for your hatred. Here’s some of our staff favorites:

Brian Pavek: Scoring only 2 points in a playoff game, and the 2 points came on a terrible safety call against Eli Manning.

Tee Word: The Julio Jones drop a few weeks ago.

JM Di Giulio: I'm a big fan of them going for 4th and 1 on their own territory in OT because they were so afraid to let Drew Brees have the football.

JR Ella: There was that fourth-and-one fail in overtime in 2011 from their own 29-yard line!!! The game was tied at 23, Saints eventually won on a short field goal after the stop.

That remains one of my favorite fails, especially given that it was against the Saints. After Michael Turner was stuffed by Michael Jenkins and the D-line, Gregg Williams went all Gregg Williams on the sideline, while Sean Payton had to contain his emotions since he was on crutches from Jimmy Graham accidentally wrecking his leg the week before! Hahaha, good times.

Ellias Williams: Being on the other end of the now iconic blocked punt which subsequently became a Steve Gleason statue. Another would be umping us to take Takkarist McKinley leaving Ryan Ramczyk to fall into our hands.

Brenden Ertle: Never forget Steve Gleason blocked punt on MNF and killing them that night, and then Michael Mauti blocking the Falcons punt again couple years ago in an almost exact recreation. My favorite Failcon moment. #NeverPunt

Another one would be when Devonta Freeman reversed field and Matt Ryan went to go lead block and saw Nick Fairley, then just slid. Never forget that.

Bob Rose: My favorite would be the whole Bobby Petrino fiasco, and Eugene Robinson night before the Super Bowl is another one of my top screw ups.

Chris Dunnells: Oh, and let’s not forget how the owner of the Falcons, who is also the owner of Home Depot, opened up a brand new bazillion dollar stadium with a leaky roof.